Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio confirmed last week that Mike Walker, who caught over 90 passes for Central Florida as a senior after undergoing ACL surgery late in his junior season, is still not ready to return to the field.
"If we were kicking off tomorrow, no, Mike wouldn't be able to play for us," Del Rio said. "He's still working through his rehab. He's begun running and they're just bringing him back slowly. He should be up to speed when we get into camp."
The Jaguars were hopeful that the third-round pick from the 2007 draft would provide the speed that the team was lacking. While Walker showed bursts of it during training camp, he rarely practiced twice in the same day. The hope was that by bringing him along slowly and not putting a lot of practice time on the knee, that he would be ready to go by the start of the season.
It became more and more clear that wasn't the case and in their final cuts, the Jaguars announced that Walker would go to IR and have more surgery to make the knee as good as possible. A healthy Walker likely would have resulted in the release of Ernest Wilford, Matt Jones or Reggie Williams. Instead all three remained with the club and other than Williams' team-record 10 touchdown catches, none of the three stood out. Wilford has since departed through free agency to Miami while the Jaguars have added Jerry Porter and Troy Williamson through free agency.
"The position got a whole lot more competitive," Del Rio said. "Offensively, I think we've shown we're going to utilize that group and maximize what they're capable of. (Wide receivers coach) Todd Monken does a great job in working with group in demanding and teaching them. We feel good about this group and we'll create a competitive environment and let the best players play for us and expect them to produce at a high level."
Watch for JagNation's exclusive interview with Mike Walker, coming soon.
Mike Walker Not Ready to Compete
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